Embarrassingly simple question for any meat-savvy cooks
I'm going to surprise my husband by preparing Maangchi's recipe for Korean fried chicken this weekend:
I'm a vegetarian and not super handy in the kitchen with meat, so it really will be a surprise. :) My question is about what kind of chicken to buy. The recipe calls for 3 lb of "chicken chunks", but mentions that you could also use wings. I like the idea of using wings (seems Super Bowl appropriate), but we already have a big Costco bag of chicken tenders in the freezer and I also like the idea of using what we have.
Would chicken tenders work, say defrosted and halved? Or would it be worth it to track down wings? In the case of the latter, what would be the easiest (and least gross!) way to buy wings?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!
With the cooking method they detail, you should use dark meat chicken. Fry 10 min, rest, fry 10 min will dry the hell out of cut up tenders, or whole tenders even. However, if you do use chunks of chicken tenders, fry once for about 4-5 minutes max, until cooked through. Frying twice with white meat will kill them. I believe that you'll get nice browning with a good crust with one fry.
Personally, I like boneless wings/pieces and think the upshot is that they can be less wieldy than dealing with bones.
You probably could use the tenders, but the best part of this type of recipe is the skin, and tenders are skinless. If you have a Costco membership, they probably carry large bags of wings in the freezer section, which are already separated and have the tips removed. That is the "least gross" option - all you have to do is defrost and proceed with the recipe. If you can't find those, most grocery stores will have whole wings in the meat section, but you'll have to remove the tips and separate the two wing sections yourself, which might not be fun for you. In that event, I would go with small legs instead - drumsticks are usually cheap and always available already separated from the thigh. Just be sure to adjust your cooking time according to the size of the pieces you choose.
The online recipes specify chicken wings, which might be better finger food than chicken tenders - but I don't see why you shouldn't use the tenders, personally I'd like them better.
even though the recipe says "chicken chunks" every picture if both the finished product and the pictures of the process show only what appears to be drumsticks or large "drumettes" the drumstick part of a wing.
Cooking tenders -- boneless white meat-- according to this recipe would incinerate them beyond recognition.
The total of 20 minute cooking time is much more appropriate for a bone-in dark meat piece like a drumstick.
You could "wing it" (heh heh) and adjust the cooking time way down for tenders, use drumsticks or drumettes or whole or separated wings or look for a different recipe that is specific to tenders.
Chicken chunks is a completely useless term, but it is apparent from the recipe that they're using thighs and drumsticks, bone-in. When they say that you might also use wings, they're really also saying that the one thing you cannot use is breast meat, especially skinless, small breastmeat chunks like tenders. If you use chicken tenders, your chicken will be overdone and dry but the other flavors will probably be very appealing.
Definitely drumsticks (chicken legs). Or huge "drumettes" from the wing. Legs come in small packages of about 10. The package is about the size of a avg. size book. Easily fit into a freezer. Don't think I would use chicken tenders unless you like the the texture of pencil erasers.
Make sure you thaw them first ...
You might try a timing dry run with a wing or two to make sure that's not too long, as drumsticks and thighs usually take longer than wings.
One of the things about Korean chicken is its supposed to be both crispy and sticky. Tenders might overcook before they get sufficiently crispy.